(Photo: Knut Ivar Johansen)

In 2009 Statoil launched a corporate initiative – designed to work across business areas – for the far northern regions. This initiative is intended as a driving force helping the company realise its strategy to establish sustainable petroleum activities in Arctic regions, and make Statoil the preferred operator based on its ability to meet rigorous operational requirements.

One of the initiative’s priority tasks is to follow up the Norwegian government’s handling of a new overall management plan for the Barents Sea. The waters around Lofoten and Vesterålen, Nordland VI, Nordland VII and Troms II, which are currently not open for petroleum activity, represent some of the most promising exploration areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. It is here we envisage the possibility of major new discoveries.

But while these areas offer great opportunities for our industry, they also set us some stringent demands. The continental shelf in the area is narrow, and these waters are particularly important for fisheries.

Fortunately there are a number of excellent solutions available that can help us ensure the coexistence of the two industries, while the new technology developed in recent years will further reduce the risk posed by our activities. As an energy company it is our job to show that we are worthy of the trust necessary for operating in demanding regions.